CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 5, 2015) – Four-time defending rallycross champions Olsbergs MSE today confirms the team’s driver roster for the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship. Reigning champion Joni Wiman will lead the charge, with newcomer Sebastian Eriksson joining the Red Bull GRC Supercars squad for the first time this year.
“We believe in the future of rallycross and we are committed to backing young talent,” said team owner Andreas Eriksson. “Both Joni and Sebastian have proven themselves in the Lites championship. We’re looking forward to having two of the best young rallycross drivers in the world behind the wheel of Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST Supercars in Red Bull Global Rallycross series this season.”
Wiman transitions this year from the role of rookie to defending his 2014 crown. He will return to the series in the Red Bull / Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST that he drove to the championship title in his debut Supercars season last year.
“In the beginning of last season, I don’t think the other drivers took me as seriously as they maybe should have and that meant sometimes I got to sneak through,” said Wiman. “I know they aren’t going to make it easy for me this year.”
The 21-year-old driver earned five podiums in 2015 — three second-place finishes and two thirds — en route to his first drivers’ title. A year earlier, he swept the GRC Lites championship.
Young Swede Eriksson says he’s looking forward to returning to the United States as teammate to his one-time rival Wiman. Eriksson finished runner-up to Wiman when the two last met in competition during their respective GRC Lites campaigns in 2013.
“When Joni and I raced together I was on the podium with him in almost every race. I had the speed to catch him, but I made too many mistakes,” said Eriksson, who will pilot a Red Bull / Bluebeam Ford Fiesta ST Supercar in the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship this season. “This year I’m ready.”
The 22-year-old Eriksson is expected to mix it up for the podium from the very first round. His motorsport development has focused entirely on rallycross since the start of his career, and his scrappy, aggressive style sees him push limits. Last year, he earned the highly competitive Swedish Rallycross championship title on an Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST Supercar.
“It’s a dream for me to compete at the highest level in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship,” said Eriksson. “To have the opportunity, and to know that I’m supported by Olsbergs MSE — a team that’s won every GRC championship in history — is an amazing feeling.”
The Olsbergs MSE team finished atop the podium in both the FIA World Rallycross Championship and the Red Bull Global Rallycross championships last season and is again aiming for worldwide rallycross dominance in 2015.
In World RX, drivers Reinis Nitiss and Andreas Bakkerud have returned to OMSE to defend their FIA World Rallycross Teams Championship title in a pair of bold red Ford Fiesta ST rallycross machines. Nitiss scored his first podium of the season with a second-place result this past weekend in Hockenheim, Germany. Also on the team this season is independent Timur Timerzyanov, who is running a wildcard campaign for the World RX drivers’ title in his Red Bull / Viatti Ford Fiesta ST. His entry is fielded by Namus OMSE.
To further its goal of developing future stars, Olsbergs MSE is also running Lites drivers in Red Bull Global Rallycross, World RX and the RallyX Scandinavia series. Confirmed for OMSE’s 2015 GRC Lites squad are young American Austin Cindric and Swede Oliver Eriksson, who will also race a Lites car at home in the RallyX Scandinavia series.
Kevin Eriksson opened his 2015 RX Lites championship chase with a win last weekend in Portugal, and he will also race a Supercar in the RallyX Scandinavia series. Sandra Hultgren joins the Lites field in the RallyX Scandinavia series.
OMSE’s multi-series campaigns in rallycross are guided by the new team slogan “Extreme Forces,” representing their united worldwide challenge for rallycross dominance. Fans can follow the team across social media platforms using the #OMSE #XForces hashtags.
OMSE Ford Fiesta rallycross cars are class of the field at any race they enter. The powerful, 600-horsepower all-wheel drive machines are top performers that have scored countless wins and podiums at races around the world.
The OMSE organization is led by Eriksson, himself a championship rally driver and veteran rallycross driver. He is supported by Chief Financial Officer Jan-Erik Steen and three-time European Rallycross Champion Jussi Pinomäki.
THE CONFIRMED DRIVER LINEUP FOR OMSE 2015:
Global Rallycross: Joni Wiman (Finland), Sebastian Eriksson (Sweden)
GRC Lites: Austin Cindric (USA), Oliver Eriksson (Sweden)
FIA World Rallycross Championship: Reinis Nitiss (Latvia), Andreas Bakkerud (Norway), Timur Timerzyanov (Russia)
RX Lites: Kevin Eriksson (Sweden), Sandra Hultgren (Sweden)
Rallycross is a blend of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition. It promises intense crowd-pleasing action in a fan-friendly track environment. As many as 10 drivers line up to start at once, piloting high-horsepower compact cars through race traffic over a challenging short course that features jumps, unbanked turns, hills and transitions between pavement and gravel. It is sometimes described as an action motorsport and is emerging as the top youth-market motorsport in the world.
ABOUT OLSBERGS MSE:
Olsbergs MSE designs, builds and operates winning competition cars for motorsport. It is recognized as the global authority in the growing sport of rallycross.
OMSE is a Ford Racing technical partner, developing the Ford Fiesta platform for international competition. Together, Ford and OMSE have earned an astonishing 20 X Games medals, including podium sweeps at the world’s leading action sports contest (Los Angeles, 2011; Brazil 2013). The team has also scored every rallycross championship in the United States since the sport debuted in that country in 2010, and won the 2014 FIA World Rallycross Teams Championship.
Founded in 2009, the organization represents a partnership between historic Swedish industrial company Olsbergs and rallycross specialists Motor Sport Evolution. In 2013, the company expanded its operations into the United States and now has dual headquarters with operations in both Sweden and the United States.
In 2015, Olsbergs MSE campaigned winning cars in World RX, the Global Rallycross Championship, and the Rallycross Supercar Scandinavia championship.